Mental Health In Nigeria: 5 Myths & Facts About The Issue

January 28, 2020

The topic of Mental Health in Nigeria is hardly ever discussed. A problem because according to this report from 2019, 1 in every 4 Nigerians suffers from a mental illness. This lack of information leads to the perpetuation of many dangerous myths about the topic. Today, we’re going to differentiate between facts and myths.

Black bar with white text on it that says, "People with metal illnesses are violent/dangerous".

A small number of people with mental illnesses are violent but only when they’re off their medications. The truth is that people struggling with their mental health in Nigeria are more more likely to be victims of violence than the general population.

Black bar with white text on it that says, "Mental illnesses are a result of demonic possession."

This one also goes out to the people who think mental health problems are a result of spiritual warfare. If someone you know is exhibiting signs of mental illness, please get a doctor and not the team of exorcists from the church down your street.

Black bar with white text on it that says, "People with mental health problems in Nigeria can snap out of it if they try hard enough."

Telling someone with clinical depression to “snap out of it” like they’re just having a bad day is rude. You’re belittling the person’s struggle, which is due to chemical imbalances (a thing the person can’t control by themselves). It’s rude and ignorant.

Black bar with white text on it that says, "People with metal illnesses can't live normal lives."

With a combination of medication and therapy, people with mental illnesses can lead normal lives. Chances are you are surrounded by highly active and productive members of society who are also quietly battling mental illnesses.

The report we referenced in the opener of this article says that 1 in 4 Nigerians suffers from a mental illness.

Enough said.

To understand more about mental health in Nigeria, watch this episode of our show, Nigerians Talk, in which we gathered a group of Nigerian millenials to talk about the topic from their POV.

And now that you’re hopefully done watching the video, click here to fill a form which you can use to give us feedback to make Nigerians Talk better.

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